Review by Bridgette Taylor
“Discovering Earth’s Landforms & Surface Features” is part of the “Great Science Adventures” series from Common Sense Press. Authored by Susan Simpson and Dinah Zike, this study consists of 24 lessons that can be broken up into 2-3 lessons per week. One of the many neat things about this program is the “3D Graphic Organizer.” Zike teaches us to transform ordinary pieces of paper into 3D booklets that can be stored into book bags, a notebook, or even a handmade poster board bookshelf. My kids love to create these pop-up images and it really helps to solidify what they have learned.
Another thing that I love about this study is that it can be used simultaneously for grades K-8. Each lesson features the same information for all grades, but all grades are not expected to retain the same amount of information. This means that I can teach my Kindergartner and my 4th grader from the same material, but still at the appropriate level for each.
Each lesson contains a section entitled “Experiences, Investigations, and Research.” This section offers many ideas that you can use to expand on what you have learned and you do not have to complete them all. As we progress through the unit study we start with the Earth itself and it’s physical features, land and water. From there we learn about many of the physical traits of the Earth, such as mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.
Not only does this unit cover the landforms on top of the Earths’ crust, but you will also delve below it by studying rocks, minerals, fossils, and soil. Weathering and erosion, the ocean floor, and the deserts are covered as well. Absolutely anything you need to know about the Earth, it’s physical forms, it’s natural disasters, and it’s resources is all right here in this unit study.
I highly recommend “Discovering Earth’s Landforms & Surface Features” due to the inexpensive price tag and the wealth of information therein.